Unique ways advisors travelled
Until the 1930s, most of Great-West Life’s business was sold in rural communities. That required a great deal of travelling – and creativity – by its agents.
“During the week we covered about 250 miles in a buggy, travelled 83 miles by rail, canvassed 72 individuals and secured 29 applications. We worked 13 to 14 hours a day.” (Agent’s letter, January 1912)
Claude Dunfee became a fixture in small towns across Saskatchewan because of his office in the back seat of his car. He parked on a town’s main street and had no trouble getting people to join him in his private office: “Many of the people had never seen anything like it and were happy to get in. Spare tires were carried outside attached to the back of the car with a cover over them and on mine I had Great-West. Really, not too many people knew my name, but everybody called me “Great-West” because they’d see this car around the country or parked on the main street.”
I.F. Pickett of Fargo, North Dakota, was the first agent to use an airplane for business. His sales pitch was, “Don’t wait until you die and go to Heaven to take that life insurance. The Great-West Life will meet you halfway, if it takes an airship to do it.”
They say necessity is the mother of invention and F.C. Kerr of North Battleford, SK, rigged up his car to create what could be the first snowmobile/car on the Prairies. He travelled 200 miles on his first trip at a top speed of 20 miles per hour, over snow-covered roads that were impassable in a car.